Friday, September 26, 2014

Eat. @ Operator 25

25 Wills Street, Melbourne CBD ph (03) 9670 3278

"Operator Operator, can you hear me?"  I thought of this phrase as Bubs and I stopped for Friday brunchies in this CBD cafe.  This will make me sound extremely old but in this world of internet and info at our fingertips I'm actually going to have to explain what an Operator is to him!

This was a good stopover for us on our way to Docklands, as it's not a part of the CBD that I frequent.  Although since we brunched here I've been thinking about coming back!

I started with a mocha as usual ($4).  A lovely mellow mocha.  Perfect coffee art.  I took a lot of shots of it in the Spring sunlight. 

I ordered the House Benedict, with  potato rosti, grandmother ham, poached eggs and chives hollandaise ($15).  I really like this version with the crispy rosti instead of the traditional muffins.  

The poached eggs were done well.  Bubs loved this so much he ate most of it, to the point I was still hungry after we finished.

I must admit I'm glad he ate most of my breakfast since I ended up ordering the Vanilla Custard Sago, with rhubarb compote, raspberry foam and rose meringue ($9).  This was an awesome dessert-as-breakfast.  It was light, it was sweet, and it was delicious.

I really enjoyed our visit to Operator 25 and we will definitely be back!

Operator25 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eat. @ Towoo

603 Whitehorse Rd, Surrey Hills ph (03) 9836 0445

I love that my "Gym Girls" friends love food from all over the world, our latest feast was for Korean at Towoo.  I think most of the good Korean restaurants tend to be around the CBD and the Carnegie area, (except for Meega!) I was extremely keen to see whether this would be a good place for Korean food nearer to home.

We started off with a pot of maguli ($14).  It was the first time I've tried it! 

It went very well with a plate of lotus root chips ($8).

We started with an order of Korean Seafood Pancake ($19).  It's a little pricier than the ones I'm used to but is reasonably justified since it's also a much bigger serve than I'm used to!  Lots of chunky pieces of seafood in a crispy pancake.

Next up a Kim Chi Stew ($18 medium, $38 large).  A hot bubbly pot of spiciness that went very well with a bowl of rice.

The Seafood tteokbokki ($18) was also delicious, a mix of seafood, rice cakes, fishcakes and vegies in the traditional Korean sauce.  Quite filling, and who could say no to this covered with cheese?

The side dishes (balchan) were excellent here, and we were especially taken with the white (potato?) noodle salad which had an interesting crunchy texture (top left in photo below).

We also wanted to do the Korean BBQ and ordered a Toowoo Pork Set ($72).  

Each set comes with mixed entrees.  They gave us 2 serves of these as there were 4 of us, and included more lotus root chips, KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), deep fried prawn and crab claws.

The Pork set has pork marinated in 6 different flavours.  It's not easy to make raw meat look pretty but this dish was very colourful and actually looked very artistic!

Our waiter started off the cooking for us, we weren't sure whether we were to continue to do so ourselves or not but he was ultra busy so we did the rest of the cooking ourselves.  The pork was delicious (as long as we didn't get too busy chatting and burn it!)  and it was lovely to try each of the different style of marinated pork. 

The set also includes a garden salad which they had forgotten to bring for us.  We ummed and ahhhed about whether to ask for it as we were already quite full but were really glad we did as it was delicious and quite refreshing given all the heavier fried food and barbecued meat.

We obviously got our second wind as we decided to have dessert as well.  They only had black sesame or green tea ice-cream on their dessert menu ($8 each) so we ended up getting a serve of each to share.  The ice-cream was quite nice, especially the black sesame one.  We found it amusing that they were served on a bed of crunchy nut cereal and drizzled with condensed milk but actually tasted quite yummy.

Another fun night out with the girls, and we had a great time out at Towoo.  Food was both delicious and authentic.  Booking is a must especially on the weekend as the restaurant seems to be getting popular with the locals.  I would definitely have to bring Hubby and the kids back again soon!

Towoo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eat. @ Lt. Nic

262 Lonsdale St, Melbourne CBD 3000 ph (03) 9044 6985

This little coffee spot has opened up just outside of Melbourne Central.  I stopped here for a quick coffee and bite the other day, on the rare occasion that I was running around town doing errands without any of the kids! 

Minimalist fit out was modern but comfortable.  They offer an assortment of filled baguettes, salads and baked goodies.  

I was in a rush so I had a quick mocha ($3.8).  Nice pleasant coffee and Melbourne-standard coffee art.

I did make time for a cute little white chocolate lamingto ($3).


I used to catch the bus right outside this place to get home from uni.  How I wish nice coffee places were as widespread then as it is now!

Lt. Nic on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eat. @ Lemon, Middle & Orange

25-31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood 3066 ph (03) 9415 1593

Lemon, Middle and Orange is one of my favourite places for brunching.  Never mind that I still can't seem to say their name in the correct order.....(LMAO!).

The cafe is clean, modern yet comfortable, and the staff are always friendly.  We've not had to wait for long for a table fortunately but it can be quite busy on the weekends.

The first time I visited with Hubby, I had just disappointingly missed out on picking up goodies at the Flour Market.  Good opportunity to try a new brunch place though, and their mocha ($4) is wonderful and has the requisite art that we Melbournians must have with our coffees. 

I had the Waffles with caramelized banana puree, Jock's vanilla ice-cream, crispy bacon and banana chips ($15.5).  Whilst some of my friends still find this combo strange, Melbourne cafes have really embraced the bacon + sweet pairing and for one am a big fan.  The banana chips here gives the dish an interesting crunch.

Hubby had The Croquettes of the Day ($16), which changes regularly (I think the one here is corn and coriander).  These are the big lumpy fritters rather than the crispy flat "fritter" ones but are still quite nice with the lovely poached eggs.

I have since been back lots of times with Bubs, as it's on our way to the CBD.  The mochas are always consistently nice.

I've realised I always study their menu intently and have ended up ordering the same dish each time!  Bubs loves his eggies, and the House hot smoked plum cured salmon, served with potato latkes, poached eggs, fennel, horse radish and creme fraiche ($17.5) is a perfect dish for us to share.  The salmon has a very nice smokey flavour, the latkes are a crunchy hit with Bubs, and the fennel adds a fresh and healthy balance to the dish.

There are some nice little cakes, pastries and sweeties in the front display cabinet which I've often picked up on the way out for the kids' Friday after school treats.

On nice days you can sit outside and is a great place for local pet owners and pram pushers to catch up.

And of course the big bonus for me is the Lululemon outlet over in the nearby Rupert Street, perfect for the post brunch retail therapy - buying sports clothing is also healthy for you, right?

Lemon, Middle and Orange on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eat. @ Kenzan & @ Supernormal

45 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD ph (03) 9654 8933 

Whilst I'd eaten at Gekkazan countless times (in fact that was my very first ever blog post!), this was the first time I'd dined at the original Kenzan.  Kenzan is truly one of the iconic Melbourne dining institutions, having been opened since 1982, and still standing tall with its high quality food and service.  We had a last minute dinner out with BIL and SIL prior to them returning overseas (sob!) and landed ourselves at Kenzan without a booking on a freezing cold Friday night.   Luckily we got a table with a 20 minute wait, which was very nice as there was a 90 minute across at Cumulus and a 2 1/2 hour (!) down over at Chin Chin.  

We had the Gyu Sashimi ($17) as an entree and it was fantastic.  Fresh, perfectly sliced pieces of meat slightly seared and dressed in their special sauce.

The large sushi and sashimi platter($105) is one of the best in Melbourne.  Every slice of fish was fresh, perfectly cut and of the highest quality.  The nigiri had a perfect balance of rice and fish.  Hubby and I have agreed that this would be a perfect "celebration indulgence" dish! *secretly planning to return with just the 2 of us*

Their tempura ($35) is perfectly executed and felt light despite being a battered and fried dish.  Too often tempura would leave you with an oily taste but these well beautifully done, crispy on the outside and soft within, and not at all heavy.  

The Unagyu ($35) had lovely pieces of eel with a beautiful soy glaze on a bed of rice.  I wished it was a much larger serve though, it was so delicious!

The Tori Teriyaki ($35)  rounded out the meal for us.  Whilst it's not the most exciting dish, the flavours are well balanced and went well with a bowl of rice.

We then headed over to Supernormal for dessert.  There was quite a wait for dinner earlier on but we got a table quite quickly by the time we popped over.  The restaurant was still buzzing with a pumping friday night crowd.

There were 4 quite interesting items on the dessert menu so we ordered them all to share!  We started off with the Miso and Pink Lady Ice-cream soft serve ($9).  I must admit for once I was not a fan of the mix of sweet and salty.  The miso soft serve just tasted plain odd to me.  I did enjoy the pink lady part of it but even so I didn't quite like the miso part by itself or mixed with the pink lady.

I did really like the Peanut Butter Parfait, with salted caramel and soft chocolate ($15).  Think a big serve of Reese's peanut butter cup, but with varying texture and a hit of caramel.

Next up was my favourite, a Soft Meringue, with sheep's milk yogurt, apple and shiso ($16).  Every element of this was delightful, with the sharp tang of the apple contrasting with the soft, sweet meringue.

And finally a Fried Custard, in ginger syrup ($12).  I'm familiar with this concept as my grandmother loved to order a version of this in Chinese restaurants because she said it was a popular dish from where she grew up, and I always found it such a departure from traditional asian dishes.  I really liked this version with the sweet, sticky but spicy ginger syrup.

It was a really interesting night food -wise, with a contrast of traditional Japanese dishes done well, and some funky fusion desserts to end the night.  I miss my BIL and SIL and I can't believe we won't be sharing meals like this for ages again whilst they're overseas, and I look forward to our next meals together for more fun foodie adventures!

Supernormal on UrbanspoonKenzan Japanese on Urbanspoon